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Bolete Bethlehem: Outstanding Dining

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  • April 17, 2019
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Bolete Dinner

Indulge In Unhurried Dining

Bolete James Beard Foundation Semifinalist Nominee for "Outstanding Restaurant."
Chef Lee combines mushrooms, herbs, and spices to many of his menu items. The result is a memorable meal you won’t soon forget.
It’s no secret why Bolete Bethlehem draws crowds. An outstanding menu and a romantic atmosphere make this an ideal dining spot for guests who want to relax. It’s time for you to carve out time from your hurried life to experience this James Beard Foundation semifinalist nominee for “Outstanding Restaurant.”

Bolete Bethlehem ranks HIGH on my list of all-time favorite restaurants.

In the kitchen of a former stagecoach inn, Chef Lee Chizmar gets down to business preparing stocks, pasta, and sauces and planning his daily menu. The chef and his team prepare everything on-site and that personal touch is reflected in every morsel that appears on your plate.

View the menu here.

If you live in the Lehigh Valley region, you’re close enough to Bethlehem to plan an impromptu dinner date at Bolete [bo-leet], 1740 Seidersville Road but don’t let an hour or two drive stop you from experiencing one of the best meals you’ll have. When your travels lead you to the Lehigh Valley, add Bolete Bethlehem to your itinerary. My meal was superb.

Bolete Dinner Chef Lee Chizmar
You won’t be rushed through your meal so be sure to take time to appreciate the artful presentation before you pick up your fork. Photo courtesy of Bolete Restaurant

Highly Recommended

My evening with the staff at Bolete evolved while I was a guest at The Sayre Mansion. I arrived in Bethlehem in the early afternoon and immediately, dinner was on my mind. My thoughts turned to a relaxing meal after settling in at the mansion. You might have experienced the confusion that comes with narrowing your dining options in a city with so many options. I’ve literally spent hours sifting through online menus. Who wants to do that, particularly when your day is jam-packed with sightseeing or business meetings? Bolete Bethlehem came highly recommended.

Fortunately, the management at The Sayer Mansion recommends Bolete and I made my reservation for 7 p.m. so the remainder of my day I could set up my tripod and camera gear, interview staff, or walk around town.

Bolete Bethlehem
In a world of fast food, diners looking for a relaxing meal will appreciate the leisurely atmosphere.
Many thanks to my server for taking my photo as I savored every bite of my meal.

Prepare to be dazzled

Allow me to paint a picture of what you can expect to find at Bolete. Imagine a cozy family-owned restaurant housed in a former stagecoach inn on the outskirts of town. An accomplished chef and his wife own and manage this intimate fine-dining eatery who spent their life dreaming of opening a restaurant. A solid plan and diligence helped the couple build a business that caught the attention of the culinary world and landed them a spot in the running for one of the top awards. Chef Lee Chizmar and his wife, Erin Chizmar, were selected as semifinalists in the James Beard Foundation,  “Outstanding Restaurant” category.

Chef Lee commented,

“It was remarkable for our whole team to hear of the nomination. They each work tirelessly to make each guest’s experience great. And it was such an honor to be considered among those other industry titans.”

Paying HOMAGE to the Mushroom

Bolete Bethlehem James Beard Award Nominee
Do you love the flavor mushrooms impart? Chef Lee Chizmar incorporates mushrooms into many of his menu items. Photo provided courtesy of Bolete.

Bolete, or mushrooms, is one of the key ingredients Chef Lee adds to many dishes. If you’re not a fungi fan, you can request your meal without them.

Why mushrooms? Aside from the fact that Pennsylvania is the “Mushroom Capital of the World,” and an abundance of varieties make them a convenient choice, Chef Lee and mushrooms have had a long and interesting career.

“Mushrooms have been an integral part of each restaurant I’ve worked at in my career, so when we moved to PA (Pennsylvania) to open Bolete, it was a natural fit,” Chef Lee said.

If you’re on the edge of your seat wondering what I ordered, I began my dining with a first course: The menu description reads, “Liberty Gardens Mixed Greens (Salad) WITH 12 pickled local mushrooms, parmesan, sunflower seeds, cipollini, garlic sourdough crouton, mushroom “Caesar” vinaigrette” but I asked my server to hold the croutons because I limit my gluten intake. I didn’t leave so much as a sunflower seed on my plate and the subtle mushroom taste combined with the shaved parmesan is the perfect prelude to all of the second-course options. I decided on the Cast Iron Seared Day Boat Sea Scallops, hand-rolled gnocchi, local mushrooms, bacon, swiss chard, Burgundian snails, parsley, and porcini puree.

The Decor: A Meeting of Rustic and Romantic

The former Stagecoach Inn sits at the crossroads of a busy intersection so, after sunset, passers-by can catch a glimpse of the soft glow of romantic lighting coming from the windows. My first reaction, as I found my parking spot in the on-site lot, was “Oh, this is perfect.”

You, on the other hand, might wonder why you’ve never dined at Bolete. Once you’re inside, the history and the unpretentious antiquity speak to you. Anyone with an affinity for history will appreciate Chef Lee and Erin’s choice of casual seating in the bar area or the dining room and their collection of carved wooden mushrooms in each of the windowsills. Softly candle-lit dining areas and a memorable meal await you at Bolete.

Bolete Restaurant Celebrates Mushrooms
The woodsy flavor of mushrooms is an integral part of Chef Lee’s menu.

Make your reservation online.

Disclaimer:

My meal was comped but my opinions are my own and based on my experience.

If you’re in the Harrisburg, PA area, learn more about Bricco here

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The Sayre Mansion

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  • March 13, 2019
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Timothy Bobb Sayre Mansion Innkeeper

Settlers Hospitality Group

Personalized Service The Common Thread

The Sayre Mansion stately presence stands out among the Lehigh Valley’s historic properties. One common thread that ties the Settlers Hospitality Group’s properties together is they’re all distinctive. But there’s more to Settlers’ success than the individualized decor, superbly comfortable accommodations, and the outstanding food served in the on-site restaurants. It’s the personalized service each guest receives.

This luxury boutique hotel at 250 Wyandotte St., Bethlehem, PA, features 22 guest rooms and is one of five properties owned and managed by Settlers Hospitality Group, a Hawley, Pennsylvania-based company. Settlers transforms historic properties with the authentic style and details very much intact. Four of those properties are located in Northeastern Pennsylvania but the Sayre mansion has its home in Bethlehem.

The grounds and many of the guest rooms offer a sweeping view of the downtown that’s an invitation to explore the restaurants, shops, and university life. Robert Sayre, a town entrepreneur, raised his family in the mansion until the early 1900s. In the years that followed, the building was used for a variety of purposes, from boarding to a fraternity house.

The Sayre Mansion is a member of the Historic Hotels of America (National Trust for Historic Preservation).

Inside the mansion, you’ll meet the innkeeper, Timothy Bobb, and his attentive staff who elevate hospitality to a new level above and beyond what you might expect. Timothy, a quintessential conversationalist, is eager to learn more about each of his guests and does so in a non-intrusive manner.

Timothy assures, “You will be greeted by a person and not an automated check-in.” He or a member of his staff is always on hand to help guests settle into their rooms and they’ve all mastered the art of making guests feel at home.

Sayre Mansion innkeepers
Sayre Mansion innkeeper, Timothy Bobb and his sidekick, a French Bulldog named “Bradford.”

“If there’s bad weather and guests are traveling (by plane), more than likely, I know there was a delay. When they finally arrive, they probably want to find a restaurant or they need a moment to refresh,” Timothy said. “I’ll be sure to ask, ‘Do you need a glass of water? Would you like a cup of coffee? Can I suggest a local restaurant?”

Timothy Bobb, Innkeeper

Customer Care: A Rewarding Experience

The reward, he said is to watch that person evolve from the harried, aggravated traveler to a very comfortable relaxed guest in a short amount of time. The Sayre Mansion, a boutique bed & breakfast, is the only Settlers’ property that currently, does not have an on-site restaurant but you will be treated to an outstanding breakfast each morning in the hotel’s dining room during your stay.

Bradford the French Bulldog
Bradford is a hit at The Sayre Mansion. His responsibilities include meeting and greeting guests.

PET ALERT: Canine friends are welcome at this pet-friendly bed & breakfast but be sure to contact the inn before you book your reservation.

What makes Timothy particularly well suited for his position as The Sayre Mansion innkeeper?

He began his career in interior design, held similar innkeeper positions, and also owned and operated a catering business before joining Settlers Hospitality Group at Silver Birches Resort, a sister property in the Lake Wallenpaupack region of Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains

The Sayre Mansion Conservatory

The “Conservatory” is a favorite with guests who yearn to sleep under the stars and city lights. Photo courtesy of Settlers Hospitality Group.

BETHLEHEM TRAVEL AND DINING FACT: Finding the perfect restaurant will not be a problem. Bethlehem is home to a variety of restaurants and many are within walking distance from The Sayre Mansion ranging from Asian, Italian, and pub to diners. You name it and you’ll likely find a palate-pleaser meal along the streets of historic Bethlehem. My dining experience at Bolete is a “10-plus.” (more details forthcoming).

The Robert Sayre Library was my home during my stay. My recently renovated suite featured two rooms: a spacious bedroom and library decorated with turn-of-the-century furnishings with a plush chaise-style lounge chair that became my second all-time favorite piece of furniture. The queen-sized bed dressed in lavishly comfortable linens is at the top of my list.

Accommodations: The Mansion and The Carriage House offer a variety of lodging options and depending on if you’re traveling alone on business or you have your family in tow, there’s a room for you. I toured every guest room in the mansion and they’re all furnished with comfort and elegance in mind.

Breakfast at The Sayre Mansion
The breakfast buffet features fresh fruit, home-baked muffins, breads, pastries and a heartier breakfast that’s made to order.
The Sayre Mansion Robert Sayre Library Guest Room

You can count on extreme comfort in every guest room managed by Settlers Hospitality Group.

The Sayre Mansion Robert Sayre Library Sitting Area
The voracious reader will have no problem finding a comfortable chair by the fireplace to read a book, work, or watch TV in the library.
Sayre Mansion Living Room

Relax by the fireplace as you sip your favorite tea or coffee. The inn is decorated with antiques and period-style furniture.

Sayre Mansion Decor
The decor is elegant and thoughtfully accented with art and antiques. You’ll feel at home without the “overwhelmed” feeling.

When the opportunity to travel to Bethlehem unfolds, The Sayre Mansion is a model bed & breakfast, with exemplary service and amenities for the consummate traveler or anyone who wants to experience a bed & breakfast at its finest. Robert Sayre found the location to his liking only steps away from city life in historic Bethlehem.

Points of Interest: Lehigh University, St. Luke’s Hospital, and most historic attractions are within walking distance. Tourism information can be found here.

Book a reservation at The Sayre Mansion online or call
610.882.2100 for more information.

Additional properties owned and managed by Settlers Hospitality Group:

The Hotel Anthracite, Carbondale, PA

Settlers Inn, Hawley, PA

Ledges Hotel, Hawley, PA

Silver Birches, Hawley, PA (adjacent to Lake Wallenpaupack)

Disclaimer:

My lodging was comped by Settlers Hospitality Group but my opinions are my own and based on my own experience.

Partner: Transcription of my interview was provided by Transcribe.

About us: Transcribe has been around for 8 years. We began as a simple do-it-yourself transcription tool but evolved as the overall speech recognition technology matured. We introduced a dictation (voice typing) feature a few years ago when it became reliable enough. Last year we introduced a state-of-the-art automatic machine transcription for pre-recorded audio and video. We support a wide set of languages.

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